Pastel hair colors are soft, muted hues that create a much more vibrant dimension in tresses. With a broad spectrum of pastels, it’s versatile to pull off both edgy and romantic styles.
April Gent is a salon co-owner from Tallahassee, FL, proficient in balayage and vivid hues. According to her, achieving a pastel hair color is a commitment.
“First off, we have to get your hair to a very light blonde, which comes with a lot of maintenance. This includes 4-8 weeks of root touch-ups and treatments to prevent damage and unwanted fading,” Gent explains.
Wash hair in cold water and use sulfate or cruelty-free products for at-home upkeep. Avoid heat-styling to help the pastel hair dye last longer.
Gent suggests the products from Amika, especially The Kure, which is a damage control line.
She warns about the usage of drug store shampoos. “These cheap products over-cleanse the hair. These also leave a waxy build-up that makes the strands harder to lighten later,” Gent points out.
Always depend on the salon-quality products that your stylist recommends.
For dark-haired ladies, it’s vital to settle for a darker color first before you achieve a pastel shade. Gent’s advice is to “be open-minded and trust your stylist.”
To prevent surprises, set up a day for consultation. Ask your stylist how realistic your goal is and how much the process and upkeep will cost you.
Can’t decide whether to go for a solid shade or multi-tonal hair? Here are the photos of the most popular pastel hair colors to guide you!
#1: Pastel Peach Colored Hair
This short pastel peach-colored hair features a grown-out rooted look. These shades of pastel hair are for the type of woman who is always keen to try new things and doesn’t mind the maintenance and upkeep of the pastel life. It also complements light or pale skin tone.
#2: Pastel Peach with Pops of Blue on Blonde Hair
Try pastel peach with pops of blue if you have blonde hair. If you are looking to add a low-commitment color to your hair, pastel is generally the way to go. As pastel shades tend to fade out faster and don’t generally require to be lifted out with lighter or color remover, pastel colors can be easily changed out from session to session. Talk to your stylist about different levels of vividness that can be used to add a flair of dimension to your color if you’re looking for color that lasts longer than one session.
#3: Pastel Orange and Yellow
#4: Pastel Pink and Blue Color Melt
#5: Peachy-Pink Pastel Long Hair
The peachy-pink pastel long hair is an absolutely to-die-for hairstyle. To achieve the perfect canvas, however, your hair needs to be pre-lightened and then toned. Then, a direct dye should be applied. With my years of experience, you may have to compromise the exact shade to keep the integrity of your hair. Don’t forget to use the right hair cosmetics at home, like Olaplex, for instance.
#6: Pastel Coral
Pastel coral is the perfect peachy gradient. To get this look, ask your colorist to lighten your hair completely solid with a pastel coral overlay.
#7: Cotton Candy Waves on Pastel Rainbow Hair
Experiment with cotton candy waves on pastel rainbow hair to really accentuate the different colors. Keep in mind that fashion colors are high-maintenance and pastel colors fade faster than more vivid colors.
#8: Pastel Lavender Locks
Ashy pastel hair is the best trend nowadays. Shades like this are great for women with pale and light skin tones. Get on the pastel train and try this ash lilac hair that you won’t regret!
#9: Light Shade of Pastel Aqua
Women wanting an eye-catching hue should try a light shade of pastel aqua. Don’t be deterred from going blue! The best part about pastel hair colors is that they are easier to change up due to their lighter nature.
#10: Pastel Blue Hair Ombre
Pastel blue hair ombre is perfect for women who love the blonde mixed with blue. To get this look, ask your colorist for a heavy highlight. Tone with silver roots into a pastel blue on the ends.
#11: Hot Pink Pastel Hair
Hot pink pastel hair is perfect for women who want to change up their blonde and add some color temporarily. This pastel tone tends to fade back to blonde quickly. To get this look, ask your colorist for a solid blonde with a pastel pink overlay.
#12: Rose Gold Pastel
Rose gold pastel is a versatile hair hue that complements neutral and warmer skin tones. For people with richer shades of hair color, they should be pre-lightened to see it at its truest hue. To maintain this color, find a rose gold color conditioner.
#13: Pastel Mermaid Hair
Indigo pastel ombre recreates a very iridescent mermaid-inspired hue though being pastel in color. Hashtag dreamy for days!
#14: Pastel Pink
Candy floss all day with this carnival pastel pink color. Add on the hipster vibes with a wavy chop. Pastel colors like this are perfect for the summer!
#15: Mint Pastel Hair Color
Indeed, pastel shades are vivid and calming! Live like a pixie in the forest, rocking a soft-hued mint green hair dye.
#16: Pastel Lilac Shade
Embrace a pastel vanilla lavender hair made lavish with purple roots. Just remember to use purple shampoo and have regular visits to your salon for touch-ups. Pastel hair colors require regular maintenance, too.
#17: Pastel Red Hair
The Red Queen has arrived! Waves and a v-line cut: only the best pastel red hair for her highness.
#18: Pastel Violet and Burgundy Mane
Pastel purple really comes in all shades. The stacked bob went well with this burgundy hue. Look trendy and edgy by upgrading and making your darker hair color pastel.
#19: Pastel Silver Hair
Pastel silver hair is delicate and an easy way to amp up your style. It’s almost monochromatic with a tinge of luster.
#20: Pastel Green Hair
Not until recently, has a pastel green hair dye been a trending color to wear on your crown. To keep this cloudy lime color, use products that protect hair and wash hair with cold water.
#21: Grey Pastel Hair Color
An ashy vanilla pastel hue is what your hair needs! Try out this color on your medium locks for some sensational times.
#22: Pastel Purple
Ube-flavored dreams in pastel color coming your way! A light and faded lilac hue as colored by colorist Chelsea surely got into the curly pastel purple tresses of this lovely lady.
#23: Plush Light Pink Pastel Hair
That grayish pastel pink came with a warning: get noticed everywhere you go with plush, light pink hair and pastel highlights. This trend is an awesome upgrade for anyone’s natural hair color.
#24: Orange Pastel
This pastel hair is a drop of peach, apricot, and all the sweet things you can think of! Muted ginger colors are the next big thing in this industry.
#25: Pastel Pink Ombre
This pastel pink ombre color was created by hairstylist Marisabel Romo of Chandler, AZ.
“The best thing about this hair color is the shine and contrast between the beautiful natural color and the way it transitions to pastel pink,” says Romo.
In order to get this gorgeous pastel-colored hair, Romo says you have to be at a level 10 blonde (inside of a banana peel). “It was easy to reach this on the model in the picture because her natural level is a 7 dark blonde. It’s a long process with level 3 dark brown hair,” she explains.
Pro Tip: Be mindful you may have to return in about 2 weeks to refresh the color.
#26: Short Pastel Hair
This is an uplifting, fun, and playful pastel rainbow hair color created by stylist Shannon Diamond of Scotland.
If you’re looking at fashion colors like these, Diamond says to think about its maintenance and wearability. She explains, “this image was captured four weeks after application and all tones used have beautifully morphed into lighter versions of what they originally were.”
Products like Matrix Biolage R.A.W. Color Care Shampoo and Conditioner or Matrix Total Results Keep Me Vivid Shampoo and Conditioner are key to keeping this pastel color long-lasting.
#27: Light Blue Pastel Tones
These light blue pastel tones are a really modern look and were created by hairstylist Carol Geiger of Switzerland.
She explains, “these hair colors wash out beautifully. After 2 weeks it will turn more green, and after 1 month, it turns into a light pastel mint color.”
Geiger says to consider that these types of color in hair don’t last very long. “They wash out more quickly than the natural colors like blonde or brown tones, so you probably have to go to the hair salon more often. You also have to bleach the hair until its white-blonde before you can do color like that, so your hair should be as healthy as possible,” she adds.
You have to be a woman who takes her time for the hair treatment because, after the bleaching and addition of the best pastel hair dye, your hair needs frequent treatments like masks, a good color-saving conditioner, and moisturizing leave-in & styling products.
#28: Pastel Teal
This pastel teal color has a ton of versatility and it was created by hairstylist Jessica Jones of Brantford, ON.
“Ask your colorist to section out the two halves in a zigzag pattern so that depending on how you feel about parting your hair, it could look completely different,” says Jones.
She adds, “you must have your hair lightened to a very pale shade of blonde for the true tone to show. This takes patience and can be costly. Secondly, pastel shades do tend to fade faster than richer/jewel-toned colors.”
#29: Pastel Unicorn Hair
This pastel unicorn hair was created with Mydentity hair dye and its bonding sidekick, Olaplex! The colorist behind this look is Megan Campbell of Las Vegas, NV.
“While this pastel hairstyle is achievable using other brands, they were the foundation of this look,” says Campbell. “Ask your colorist to use the diagonal parting technique because it makes the color look different no matter where you choose to part it. Likewise, if parted down the center, it makes a ribbon effect. If you choose to part your hair on the side, then it will actually take on a more dramatic peekaboo effect.”
Pastel balayage will require toners, treatments, and glazes or full colors, all before the fun shades are even applied. Dark hair starting levels will take longer and require more steps to achieve pastels than naturally lighter hair will. Also, each visit will take between 5-7 hours to create the unicorn tears magic.
Furthermore, pastels are a fragile color in any color line. They all tend to fade fast. So, if this is the pastel unicorn hair of your dreams, Campbell wants you to know it’s considered a high-maintenance color and will require regular maintenance to maintain the pastel hues.
#30: Platinum White Pastel Hair Color
Go for a platinum white pastel hair color with an overtone to a slight pastel lilac root. It flatters women with warm skin undertones and was created by hairstylist Jaimie Brown of Marietta, OH.
If you have pastel-inspired hair color ideas, Brown says you really should have a natural level 7 hair or above. Plus, maintenance is something to consider. Touch-ups are needed every 5 weeks.
“Ask your colorist to send you home with a purple shampoo (Pulp Riot Barcelona) for at-home maintenance,” she notes. “Also, use an at-home conditioning treatment once a week and oil with a heat protectant.”